Jiang Chen was no stranger to the Scouring Astral Wind. He knew it as a devastating storm from his past life. The most dangerous place to be was the eye of the storm. On the fringes, one could survive as long as they moved as fast as the wind.
Jiang Chen considered the storm before him. It was powerful, but not as powerful as it could be. This astral wind was still in its infancy.
It was enough to threaten average empyrean cultivators, but not advanced empyrean cultivators with above average agility and consciousness.
Very few of the young contestants had reached advanced empyrean. Seventh-level empyrean was the highest bar. Therefore, even the best among the young geniuses might not be able to weather the storm.
Jiang Chen was in no hurry. He concentrated on observing the the astral wind. There wasn’t a clear pattern to its ebbs and flows, but there were some general rules one could deduce.
“The Scouring Astral Wind emerges depending on terrain and geological features. To avoid the wind, one must study the terrain first and identify a pattern.”
Thanks to his deep understanding of the astral wind, he knew what to do after spending some time observing it. His form flickered when his mind was made up. “Time to go. Scouring Astral Wind at this level is no threat to me!”
As the thought struck him, another gust of wind swept toward him. He shot to his right like lightning to dodge it. He then whipped to the left in a flash.
He leapt and zigzagged his way through the storm. The astral winds came at him relentlessly from all corners, but he foresaw them all and evaded in the nick of time.
He fell into a rhythm. With easy grace, he made his way to the other side. No matter how the storm changed in frequency and pattern, he remained untouched.
Senior executives of the ten sacred lands had gathered together outside the Sandplain Island. Most of the sixty candidates had been eliminated. Only less than ten were still persevering.
Eternal’s Five Great Gentlemen had all been kicked from the game. Both Wu You and Gan Ning were now merely spectators.
To the sacred land’s delight, Jiang Chen was still on one of the islands, which meant he’d be at least among the top ten.
“Someone’s entered the ninth forbidden island already. Who the hell is it?? The others are still on the seventh island… Ah, two of them just entered the eighth. But this mysterious genius has entered the ninth and is still going strong!”
“It must be Jiang Chen from Eternal!”
“My guess is Poison Consort Shi Qinglu!”
“Why can’t it be senior brother Lu Mingye?”
“Don’t forget about the golden hairpins Holy Girl Si Tong and Yu Ling. They’re among the top geniuses as well.”
“Hmph, none of them can compare to Jiang Chen. I hear he’s a god incarnate. He’s destined for greatness.”
“Tsk, suck up to Eternal all you want! Jiang Chen isn’t even a Myriad Abyss native. Apparently, he’s from the human domain. We all know how much that domain is lagging behind.”
“I don’t want to waste time arguing with you. Throw down with a bet if you have the balls to!”
“Why not? I’m not scared of you!”
The young disciples were crude and straightforward when they spoke. They each had a favored candidate they thought would win the competition.
In general though, most of them were neutral. Objectively speaking, many believed Jiang Chen was most likely the one who had reached the ninth island.
He’d dominated the first part of the competition, and there were quite a lot of rumors about him to begin with.
His reputation exceeded that of any other youth. The more reasonable minds believed he shouldn’t be considered a simple young genius. Even when compared to the senior executives in the sacred lands, Jiang Chen could hold his own against many of them.
He’d been progressing at a ridiculous speed.
Eternal’s first prime was sure that Jiang Chen must be the leading candidate, but she couldn’t help but be a little concerned.
What if it wasn’t Jiang Chen?
She tried her best to tamp down her excitement and joy, putting up a calm and collected front. It’d be embarrassing if she got excited too early and ended up being proven wrong.
On the other hand, Ziju Min had never once entertained the possibility that Jiang Chen would lose to another youth.
“Wu You, Gan Ning, who do you think the contestant on the ninth island is?” he asked with a smile.
Without blinking, Gan Ning responded, “Senior brother Jiang Chen, of course.”
Wu You chuckled. “It has to be senior brother Jiang Chen. We’ve spent quite some time with. We know his strength and techniques better than most people here. We know very well that no other young geniuses have the right to rival him. He’s standing above us all, and the gap is great.”
Sui Chen felt as if he’d been stabbed in the heart. His face turned dark and rigid. He didn’t agree with Wu You’s unbridled praises.
Wei Yong had lost all respect for Sui Chen. He echoed Wu You’s sentiment. “Very few can impress Holy Girl Si Tong and Yao Guang. Senior brother Jiang Chen is the only one in the younger generation who’s achieved that feat.”
That was a jab at Sui Chen, who had tried to strike up a conversation with the holy girls and ended up captured.
Jiang Chen, on the contrary, not only convinced the holy girls to release Sui Chen, but also won their approval. The two men were night and day.
Their debate was interrupted by an excited exclamation. “Look! Someone’s passed the ninth island and entered the tenth!”
That bomb rippled through the crowd and caught everyone’s attention. The crowd erupted into chatter.
The senior executives of the ten sacred lands had considered it impossible to complete the ninth mission. That was their designated endpoint.
However, someone had proved them wrong!